The Jewish Chronicle

Morrison marvels



Brandon Hammé insists Mill Hill Dons do not fear the big guns of Maccabi football after eliminatin­g first division leaders RJC to reach the semifinal stage for the first time. Defences dominated in normal time and extra-time, and it was the competitio­n outsiders who held their nerve in the shoot-out to progress. Sam Stead, Adam Isaacs, Zach Cohen, Nick Phillips and Ryan Kramer all converted, with goalkeeper Sam Singer making the crucial save. Dons boss Hammé said: “What an incredible result, just sensationa­l. Yet again, we proved we can go up against anyone on our day. It was a defensive master-class from both teams and an extremely tight game throughout.” Hammé believes the result was no fluke and said: “We knew RJC were a great team. They made us work and we knew only our best would do. The desire, the heart and the passion from the boys was just massive and it drove us through the game. I couldn’t have asked for more and all the credit goes to the boys for putting on a great display.” Hammé singled out Singer for special praise for a commanding performanc­e, culminatin­g in his match-winning save. He said: “Sam was unbelievab­le with the gloves, but it was really his feet that made the crucial difference. In David de Gea-esque style, he was a rock at the back and received high praise from both teams throughout. He made two point-blank reflex saves to keep the score level and commanded his box to perfection throughout.” Having experience­d an inconsiste­nt campaign in the league, Hammé is challengin­g his players to see how far they can go in the National cup competitio­n. “We were the lowest ranked team left in the competitio­n in the last 16 round and have now reached the semi-final stage,” he said. “The boys can feel really proud about what they achieved but there is nothing stopping us going one stage further.” RJC boss Sam Rank described the result as “very disappoint­ing”. He said: “Our defending was solid and we created the better chances. We should have won the game in 90 minutes. However, the most disappoint­ing aspect was the lack of composure from the midfield and attack. Well done to Mill Hill Dons and Sam Singer, who played very well during the game and penalty shootout. We wish them good luck in the remainder of the competitio­n.”


Avi Goldberg praised HMH’s character as they recovered from two goals to beat top-flight rivals Oakwood on penalties. A thrilling encounter at the Hive saw Oakwood striker Josh Bharier open the scoring from close range. The former Scrabble man doubled the lead with a firm downward header. HMH pulled one back when Ethan Krell’s free-kick was nodded in by George Goldberg. Oakwood then had a golden opportunit­y to restore their twogoal advantage, but Josh Cuby’s penalty hit the crossbar. HMH equalised with virtually the last kick of normal time, with Krell’s cross allowing topscorer Oscar Wagner to poke home. With no further goals in extra-time, it went to penalties and HMH goalkeeper Jake Doffman saved Oakwood’s first effort from Cuby. HMH were successful with all five spot-kicks, via Ethan Krell, Adam Abadi, Alex Moss, Sammy Kingston, and it was left to Clark Norton to hold his nerve and send them through. HMH boss Goldberg said: “Credit to both teams for a fantastic game and to my lads who kept their cool to slot home the penalties after Jake gave us the advantage.” Oakwood joint-manager Dan Kristall expressed pride at his team’s performanc­e. “We are so stretched right now and to turn out a display like that, against an inform HMH side with up to 16 players, is a credit to everyone involved,” he said. “The key moment was our penalty miss in normal time. It is all about small margins.” Kristall believes luck deserted Oakwood and said. “Some of the major decisions didn’t go our way. I felt we should have had a free-kick in the build-up to their first goal where the ref had the whistle to his mouth and half signalled to give us the foul Top: HMH celebrate, while Oscar Wagner is sin-binned in extra-time

and then let play continue. We also had two big penalty shouts in the first half of extra-time, a goal disallowed in extra-time and I was then perplexed to see their sin-binned player allowed to rejoin play for penalties, when he had only served nine minutes of the ten, (I timed it!) and I did not understand where the seven additional minutes came from in the second half of normal time, having only counted one second-half injury.”


Jordan Aspis’s extra-time strike sent Lions through at the expense of in-form Los Camden. The visitors opened the scoring against the run of play when Guy Fenton’s effort was parried by David Myers and Gav Krieger poked home from close range. Lions drew level with 20 minutes remaining when Benji Weinberger tucked home a penalty following a foul on Aspis. Los Camden battled gallantly in extra-time but it was Lions who progressed when a cross from Adam Hassanali was converted at the far post by Aspis. Lions joint-manager Sam Marchant said: “We knew what to expect from Camden, who have been winning games on the bounce since the winter break. The boys showed an incredible hunger and determinat­ion to win the game.” Camden boss Stirling Kay said: “I’m devastated for the lads as our energy levels dipped in extra-time in a game we were missing eight players, notably captain Johann Jordi and vice-captain Sacha Nussenbaum. I don’t think Lions would’ve recovered had we converted in front of an open goal in the first half.” Looking ahead, he said: “Winning our forthcomin­g Cyril Anekstein Cup semifinal and securing a strong finish in the league are now our priorities.”

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 ??  ?? Mill Hill ‘keeper Sam Singer
Mill Hill ‘keeper Sam Singer
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